The granite-chinned Voelker did all he could just to hang on during the first encounter between the two dynamic 170-pound prospects five months ago. He was bullied pretty badly in that fight, and although an accidental poke to the eye brought the fight to a premature end, there was no mistaking that Roger Bowling was the victor.
Tonight, there would be no mistake, either, only it would be Voelker doing the bullying.
Bowling came out with a similar strategy to what he used in the first fight, which was to land with one or two quick punches on his feet and then score with takedowns. But the 31-year-old, battle-tested Voelker was more than ready this time around, stuffing most of Bowling's shots and doing a much better job using his size to score from the outside on his feet.
Bowling's aggression carried him through the first round and probably even had him ahead on points, but round two was all Voelker. He tagged Bowling with big punches on his feet and finished the smaller fighter off with a devastating display of ground and pound that even Chael Sonnen would have to give props to.
It was a big win for Voelker and a bad night for Bowling, who suffered the first loss of his career. Even so, the score is now tied up one apiece.
Another Strikeforce trilogy?
Heavyweight knockout artist Lavar "Big" Johnson was featured in the co-main event opposite fellow heavy hitter, Virgil Zwicker, and the "Big" man did not disappoint, wasting no time finishing off his seventh straight opponent by way of early (technical) knockout.
This was his third straight victory on a Challengers card, and with another dominating performance, he's clearly earned his way onto one of Strikeforce's bigger shows. He wasn't shy about naming possible opponents after the fight, either. Andre Arlovski, Bobby Lashley and Brett Rogers to be specific.
Be careful what you wish for, Lavar.
Undefeated lightweight Billy Evangelista returned to action from injury for the first time in nearly a year, locking horns with Waachim Spirit Wolf in what turned out to be a fantastic 165-pound catchweight bout.
Spirit Wolf came out of the gates strong, dropping the Muay Thai specialist with a big punch early and then scoring with some nice takedowns. But once Evangelista shook off the cage rust and established his takedown defense, he found his groove and battled back to win the last two rounds to secure the unanimous decision.
It was a great fight and a good battle for the young Evangelista to have to work his way through in his return from the injury. A fight like that should definitely help clear the cobwebs.
Accomplished female Muay Thai fighter Julia Budd got a chance to put her talents on display for the Showtime audience tonight in what was her mixed martial arts debut. She did not disappoint, laying a beatdown on Shana Olsen en route to a second round technical knockout victory.
A good portion of the fight was contested on the ground, but that didn't seem to bother the stand-up specialist. She looked just as sharp there as she did on her feet. Olsen didn't have an answer for her anywhere.
It's a little crazy to talk about title shots when you've just made your MMA debut, but Cyborg Santos was the topic of conversation in the post fight interview, nonetheless. Budd was respectful of the champ, but there is no lack confidence.
She's one to keep an eye on for sure.
John Devine and Brandon Cash rounded out the main card with their heavyweight contest. It wasn't much of a contest, though. Devine took Cash down with ease and used dominant positions on the ground to work his way to a first round rear naked choke finish.
In undercard action, Cesar Gracie trainee David "Tarzan" Douglas was victorious, handing Dominic Clark the first loss of his career via second round technical knockout.
Next up for the promotion's Challenger Series is a trip to the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 19 for Challengers 12: "Shaolin vs. Wilcox."
Justin Wilcox, an AKA product, will make his fifth start under the Strikeforce banner, previously compiling a record of 3-1 for the promotion. His main event opponent, Vitor Ribeiro, is a submissions expert with a ton of world class experience from his time overseas in the Japanese fight organizations. The match-up should be an excellent technical battle between a fantastic wrestler and a world renowned Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner.
Ryan Couture, son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy "The Natural" Couture, will also be in action on the Showtime telecast, although his opponent has not yet been determined. Stay locked to MMAmania.com for more on that developing fight card.